I have devotional #18 marked in my book.
A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit…. Nails driving out my habits of discontent and driving in my habit of eucharisteo [thanks].
It’s the reminder I desperately need, but I try to avoid.
I bookmarked that devotional several weeks ago, but every few days I have to go back and re-read it.
When I first read 1000 Gifts, it was like a revelation – making lists of gifts instills a spirit of gratitude? Yes! It does! It gave me the smile and positive attitude I needed while my boyfriend was in Spain.
But somewhere in the last two months, I’ve forgotten it. I haven’t been writing gifts. I haven’t been thankful for the little things. I haven’t even been thankful for the big things. I’m so focused on the things I don’t like about my life that I’ve shut out God’s goodness and grace.
To use her analogy – I’ve lost my hammer. The nails are still there – they’re in chocolate covered oranges, in a few winter sunbeams on the kitchen floor, in Chinese food shared with friends, in impromptu P90X workouts with my house mates. But I haven’t remembered to write them down – to actively remind myself of His faithfulness and grace.
I can tell that something’s missing. I know that I want to be joyful, but my heart doesn’t want to make the effort. I know that I’m making my happiness dependent on my job, my boyfriend, my family, my friends.
You know that feeling you get when you are being confronted about something that you’re aware of but choosing to ignore? It feels like a weird knot in your stomach. Tightness in your breathing. Your face hardens.
That’s how I felt when I read this: “Never let real joy be controlled by the things you can’t really control….Your Father is infinitely bigger than your fears.”
It’s a slap to my face. It’s like God is speaking to me and I can’t shut him out anymore.
Why am I so intent on being miserable? Why am I blaming my awful attitude on everyone else? Why am I defiantly ignoring his grace? Why am I making my relationships my source of joy? Why am I looking for validation from my boss, coworkers, or friends? Don’t I know that I will always be disappointed? They will always fall short in comparison to God’s love.
My desire for happiness is wrapped up in my need to control my circumstances and every time I rely on them… I fall hard, and it’s only when I consistently seek His face and put my trust in Him that I can find joy.
Joy is my middle name – so why is it so hard to learn?